Thursday, June 6, 2002

Scouts find, mark veterans’ graves

Published in the Current

A group of Cape Elizabeth Boy Scouts found 30 new veterans’ graves in Portland’s Western Cemetery just before Memorial Day.

Led by Eagle candidate Carl Hagmann, the group of about 40 scouts and parents mapped and marked graves and paths in the cemetery, which has not been used for some time and is overgrown in parts.

“We basically mapped out the entire cemetery,” Hagmann said. The goal was to locate and mark graves of veterans, so they could be decorated on Memorial Day.

He had a list of 142 veterans’ graves, compiled as part of the cemetery’s planning project. But there were more.

“There were some other graves from (the War of) 1812 that weren’t on the list,” Hagmann said.

He and his fellow scouts ended up identifying 172 graves of veterans, 30 more than were marked on the cemetery’s master map, according to Peter Monro, the project coordinator for the Stewards of the Western Cemetery.

The 30 veterans were all in the War of 1812, Hagmann said, and were scattered throughout the cemetery.

Their remains had always been in the cemetery, but their graves had been unmarked for some time.

More recently, headstones were erected, but the locations of the graves were not recorded on the cemetery’s map, Hagmann said.

As part of the project, Hagmann stamped plot numbers on stainless steel medallions, allowing the gravesites to be permanently marked, Monro said.

The medallions, provided by the City of Portland, had a 10-inch stake on the back, so they can be embedded in the ground while still easily moved over, he said.

The scouts also placed stakes at the ends of paths through the cemetery. Some of the paths were overgrown and not clearly identifiable, Monro said. “(Hagmann’s) leadership was instrumental in getting this done,” he said.